Ever since Novak Djokovic‘s rather unexpected defeat at the hands of Carlos Alcarazin last month’s Wimbledon final, there has been a fervent debate. It is most around the reasons why the 7-time champion was halted in his march towards an unprecedented 24th Grand Slam crown.
While most fans believe that Novak Djokovic‘s quest to win an unprecedented 24th Grand Slam title may have led to his downfall in the Wimbledon final. However, Rick Macci, the former coach of the Williams sisters, believes that it was the remarkable ability of the 20-year-old Alcaraz to “counter quality with quality” that ultimately led to the Spaniard’s triumph.
Speaking about the crucial break point that Djokovic had which was saved by Alcaraz at the beginning of the fifth set, the 68-year-old American coach believed that more than the pressure, it was due to the 20-year-old’s sheer brilliance on court. This resulted in Djokovic being not able to grab the decisive early break in the decider.
“He’s definitely human, but no, the pressure did not get to him. The Alcaraz effect got to him,” said Macci in an exclusive interview with Tennis-Infinity.com. Citing Alcaraz’s incredible ball-retrieving prowess, Macci added, “You gotta remember, Carlos made a bunch of great saves during that rally, he got back two or three balls that most guys on the tour will not.”
Carlos Alcaraz’s ability to counter quality with quality was the turning point, opines Rick Macci
The tennis world had already witnessed the superlative athletic qualities of the young Spaniard prior to Wimbledon 2023. However, the sheer manner in which the World No. 1 came back from a thorough drubbing in the opening set, to turn the screws on the indomitable Serb, has had a lasting impression on the veteran tennis coach.
Alluding to the now well-documented fact that very few tennis players have consistently made Novak Djokovic play an extra shot at consistent intervals, Macci lavished praise on Alcaraz’s high-quality return shots. “See, he counters quality with quality where the rest of the world misses, or they lob it, or whatever,” said the seven-time USPTA Coach of the Year.
Macci highlighted Djokovic’s own admission post-match that he had never played anyone like Alcaraz to put across his point that the Spaniard’s quality was the game-changer. The veteran coach also seemed to agree with Goran Ivanisevic’s views that the rivalry between the world’s top two could get even more exciting in the weeks and months ahead.
Signing off, the American said, “I mean, you gotta give credit to Alcaraz and not take anything away from Djokovic. But that being said, I think the best is still yet to come.”
The Tour now approaches the final Major of the year in New York later this month. The prospect of a third Grand Slam duel this year between the world’s top two tennis gladiators at the iconic Arthur Ashe Stadium does not seem far-fetched.
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